FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 7, 2013) -- Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter spoke to about 150 Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians at Fort Rucker June 4 during a visit to learn more about the Army's rotary-wing flight program and the importance of the installation to the state of Alabama.

Fort Rucker is home to U.S. Army Aviation, the branch of the service responsible for supporting commanders on the ground with Army air assets.

"The most important thing I can say to you from the folks in Washington, D.C., is thank you," said Carter. "Thanks for what you're doing here. We appreciate what you're doing, whether you're wearing a uniform or are a civilian."

Carter said this appreciation of service is also for the Family members who support military and DA civilian members. He asked those in attendance to pass this message on to those not able to attend his speech.

He spoke briefly on sequestration, saying that he and Department of Defense leaders "are trying to do our best… under the circumstances."

On speaking of dedication to the job, Carter said he sometimes thinks about what motivates Soldiers and civilians to work so hard to support the nation and the Army.

"I know the answer to that," Carter said. "You do it for the reason that everybody in this room does what they do, which is the mission, because you really care."

Carter said the Army is currently in a period of "great transition," and that the Army has been "all in" for the past decade.

"Now we have to begin the transition to the security challenges that will define our future," said Carter.

He described the process of maintaining the world's greatest fighting force as an ongoing process. Carter said the DoD is still in the incipient stages of developing the Army of the future and this process and development will take time.

"It's going to be different," Carter said. "It's not going to be a large rotation force focused on counter insurgency. It's going to be a different kind of force."

Carter said Army Aviation will play a critical role in the development of the future Army and that the current Army's adaptability has allowed for its successes around the world.

Carter concluded his speech to the group by saying that he and Department of Defense leaders have utmost confidence in the people serve the nation. He then personally greeted and presented each member of the crowd with his challenge coin.